As you know, I tend to write only when I can point to facts in an effort to clarify what most others can’t or won’t. And in the current US Presidential contest, facts are barely a consideration. This leaves me in a predicament – become a fact-checker (there are many of those already) or offer an opinion.
As I am hesitant to do either, let me ask you some questions.
Did Mitt Romney win the first Presidential debate?
According to the media, he “spanked” President Obama. (what a silly, condescending and rather troubling verb to use, but Fox and the right wing media did so anyway) But why was this assessment so widely agreed upon?
Was it the setting of low expectations for a bumbling Romney campaign that was close to being written off? Did the media therefore, expect President Obama to seal the deal and were surprised he did not? Or was it because the media, self serving as they are, prefer the proverbial “horse race”, and were looking to even the score a bit?
Why do media outlets outside of the US often offer a more sober assessment of such events? For example, Canada’s National Post ( a right wing organization) offered a piece from George Jonas titled “Denver was never Obama’s to win“, where he said:
Obama may be better at campaigning than debating, but he was good, even very good at times; calm, laid back, relaxed. Romney was less relaxed, and it worked for him.
Why such unanimity then, in the US media?
To answer that question, consider this:
One of my favorite story lines has been how President Obama did not point out all of the “lies” Mr. Romney said in his debate answers. Yes, you read that correctly. The media blamed the President for not correcting Romney’s lies, but basically ignored the lies themselves. The same media were quick to jump on the somewhat dubious nature of President Obama’s math, (when he said Mr. Romney was planning a five trillion dollar tax cut) but ignored Mr. Romney’s assertion that he would not increase the deficit while cutting taxes on middle income Americans and holding taxes steady on those who are in the top 5%. (By the way, it is impossible)
The biggest story line of the debate should have been the lack of details, excess exaggerations and the sheer number of lies coming from Mr. Romney. It was not. Why?
This leads me to my next question.
Is there really a left wing media bias?
In the minutes, hours and days that followed the first Presidential debate, there was almost a unanimous chorus of criticism of President Obama’s “performance” by virtually every media outlet in the US.
So, if there is such a left wing media bias, why were they as critical of him as Fox, Rush and Glenn Beck? Why would they not find any way possible to show President Obama in the best possible light?
Because they certainly did not.
Those on the right will jump in here and say it is because President Obama was “so terrible”, but this is disingenuous. (I watched the whole debate, twice, and he was certainly not terrible)
I have often wondered about this whole left wing media bias theme espoused by Fox News and others. I’ve wondered if it is merely a ruse to keep their viewers and listeners firmly in place and to promote a distrust of actual news reporting. (Fox is not a news channel, but rather an editorial outlet)
There was no left wing bias post debate. They certainly had an opinion and an agenda of some sort, but it was not to promote President Obama.
Was it to promote a closer race and higher ratings?
Do Americans want a return to belligerent foreign policy?
Following Mitt Romney’s well promoted foreign policy speech, yet another bump in the polls for him, on the question of handling diplomacy and other matters abroad. But why? What did he say that was so new, different or agreeable?
Many of his goals are already being implemented by the current administration. Many are simple platitudes meant to appeal to a domestic audience. And, some are a step backward.
In fact, Mr. Romney’s foreign policy advisers are some of the biggest hawks of the Bush era. The same era that brought you Iraq. The same era that set a new standard for US belligerence on the world stage. The same era that set the new standard for alienating US allies and foes alike. Do you want to return to that?
Do you want to have a President who beats his chest, yells loudly and thumbs his nose at the rest of the world? A foreign policy based on force and antagonism? Do you really understand what that does to those listening outside US borders? How it impacts those from whom the US needs help occasionally?
Think about this:
If Mitt Romney had been President, would we be seeing campaign ads about how he helped promote democracy in the Middle East during the Arab Spring? About how many of these countries are now turning to free and fair elections? About how it was done through quiet diplomacy and not direct, overt intervention?
Would you feel proud of that accomplishment?
It is actually somewhat depressing to think that the polls would shift so dramatically toward a challenger who spent an entire Presidential debate offering mistruths, dubious “facts”and well practiced “zingers”, instead of details, depth and a solid, well vetted plan.
It is equally troubling to believe that the average American voter prefers the pandering puffery of “American exceptionalism” to real solutions and a vision of a country that engages in fair economic policies and a prudent, quiet, foreign policy based on trust and equality.
If American voters are so easily swayed by such simple, vacuous words from those who obviously treat them with very little respect, then it is quite likely that Mitt Romney will be President in January 2013.
Perhaps then, we can all see his secret plan to prosperity.
Are you willing to wait and see? Or would you rather know what the plan is in advance?
Will you trust the media to tell you?
So many questions and so little time to find the answers…
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